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on 10 April 2009
Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found

From the moment the magical title enticed me into the book's pages, the understated but powerful photographs and inspiring recipes of Piri Piri*Starfish, Portugal Found transported me to the wooden tables, marble bars and tiled cafés of Portugal.

The book opens with "Gem on the edge of Europe", in which Tessa shares her appreciation for Portuguese food, and is followed by her ingredients notes, "In the Portuguese Kitchen". Richly layered collages introduce each of the book's sections, from "Essential Recipes" to "Petisco Plates", through "Starters and Soups" and "Mains and Side Plates", and concluding with "Desserts and Cakes". Some of my favorites so far are the Gaspacho a Portuguesa, the Carrot Soup, the Coffee Steak, the Piri Piri and Lemon Butter Grilled Prawns, and the many potato recipes. The much-talked-about Pastéis de Nata are as amazing as Tessa says, and the Port Ice Cream is stunning: subtle in both color and flavor.

The subdued tones of the book's photographs, as well as the intricate design details - from the font choices to the swirly motifs - give Piri Piri*Starfish a strong sense of place. The uniqueness of Tessa's books is one of the many reasons I have so enjoyed collecting her cookbooks over the years; while they all share the same high level of attention to design and production, each possesses its own distinct personality.

If you have an hour or two, put on some fado music, pour yourself a glass of something nice, and let Tessa's recipes and observations about the Portuguese and their food take you on a journey that will likely lead you to the nearest market and into the kitchen.
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on 11 April 2008
In my opinion Portuguese food still hasn't been truly discovered, it's always been a hidden gem (maybe there's a small chance of this review being biast as I have a Portuguese mother and a Brazilian father) but still, Portuguese food is something that's always been so personal to me, given me comfort. I always thought it might be just me who had been so deeply in love with Portugal and it's culture....after reading Piri piri starfish I see I'm not alone(there are more of us out there!!) Being raised in a family where food is everything ...my first real memory was seeing my mother soaking salt fish (bacalhau) smelling the onions, garlic, tomatoes, piri piri chillies, & coriander frying in a big pot with olive oil.(it was heavenly). This book truly captures how magical Portuguese food is.

The layout of the book is in true Tessa Kiros style...beautiful layout and beautiful photos of most of the dishes. I've tried the Roast Octopus with Red Wine & Potatoes, it was so tasty....the Grilled Squid with Chourico & Lemon Coriander Oil....was really really good....Piri Piri oil which is always at my table, Pasteis de bacalhau (fish cakes), grilled pork chops with chourico & pancetta, stuffed squid, pineapple cake (delicious)....Piri Piri Chicken with the Tomato Rice....I have to say it was just as tasty as the rice my mum makes. All recipes are authentic and turned out amazingly. I can't wait to continue trying out the others.

Some more recipes included:
Prawns with Piri piri, Whisky & Lemon
Seafood Rice
Stuffed Squid with Chourico
Baked Pork Ribs with Orange (these were AMAZING!!!!)
Roasted new potatoes with Tomatoes & White Wine
Prego Rolls (marinated Steaks in soft bread rolls)
Coffee Creme Caramels
Churros
Melon Sorbet with Port
Prawn Pastries (these are delicious, I promise you)

If I was to try and find fault, it would be the desserts & cake section...even though some lovely cakes were included, caramel cake, honey tart, pineapple cake...I haven't been to one family gathering or friends house in Portugal where Arroz doce (portuguese sweet rice)wasn't on the table...or Tarte de Amêndoa(almond tart with a carmel glaze)Pudim Molotof, Bolo de Bolacha (a biscuit cake) these are cakes/desserts that are very very popular in Portugal so I was suprised when I saw that they weren't included in the book. Still, this is a great book with some great recipes. If you love honest rustic food, then this book will not disappoint. Tessa Kiros has managed to capture everything I love in 254 pages.
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on 17 March 2009
I bought Piri Piri Starfish: Portugal Found as a birthday present for a friend who spends part of each year in Portugal. The book has turned out to be her favourite recipe book, and I have now bought my own copy because I was so impressed with the recipes, I nearly didn't give it to my friend! Besides being visually stunning, the recipes are simple to follow and trustworthy ... the finished results have all been excellent. I can highly recommend this book to food lovers! I think that Tessa Kiros must be an amazing cook.
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on 19 April 2008
As someone who is Portuguese it's hard not to be taken away to the cake shops and restaurants of Portugal whilst flicking through the pages of this book. This book feels, tastes and smells like Portugal. The recipes are all authentic and each new page brings with it a new set of directions for making mouthwatering traditional Portuguese cuisine. From seafood to the addictive pasteis de nata, Tessa Kiros has created a book filled with beautiful photographs and enticing and easy to make recipes. This book introduces you to the warm and friendly nature that is Portugal and the culture of its people. Live to eat! Don't eat to live.
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on 12 July 2010
Having personally knocked up many of the wonderful recipes from the Apples for Jam book I saw this one and snapped it up as a gift for my Mum to be kept at her apartment in Portugal knowing that she loves the cuisine and would easily be able to source all the ingredients...

After a recent visit I have now tried and tested a few of the recipes myself and they taste just like something you'd get dished up in a local restaurant - lovely, plus none of the ingredients are too obscure and so I shall be purchasing myself a copy of this book too.

Great book, if you love Portuguese food then you'll love this book!
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on 14 April 2008
Portugal's cuisine is not as famous as that of its neighbour, Spain, nor that of Italy or France. It is a simple, humble way of dealing with local ingredients : seafood, the omnipresent bacalhau (salt cod), sardines, chouriço sausage are the main players here. It is honest but tasty, heartwarming and sunny.
Tessa Kiros manages to capture the essence of the food, with a lot of affection for the land and its people, who shine through in the snippets of her travelogue.
This book may not be as eye-catching as her previous two, its colour theme being much more subdued (grey-blue), but it brings back memories of my own travels to that thankfully still mostly undiscovered country.
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on 9 November 2012
I own many cookery books, and most are for inspiration. However, this has to be one of the most used books on my shelf- we cannot get enough of these recipes! I even threw a Portuguese party for 20 guests using only this book!

Here are just some of the good points:
-Beautiful pictures: it's an absolute pleasure to just leaf through this book, even if you have no intention of cooking anything.
-Descriptions: each recipe has a description that puts the food in context, which helps to give some idea of Portuguese culture.
-Amazing recipes: some of these recipes are astounding. I like to think that I am inventive in the kitchen, but this book contains many things I would never have thought of, I mean, chourico cake? Coffee steak? Inspired!

And reason why I didn't give it 5 stars:
-The ingredients are formatted like prose. Sometimes the recipes are spread over more than one page, and mid-cooking-session, I find myself having to hastily flick back and desperately scour the ingredients to find amounts. Personally, I'd prefer it to be laid out in a list. Please don't let this put you off though, (unless maybe you are a complete beginner).
-This would best suit a hard-core meat and fish eater. Vegetarians be warned!

Overall, I'd thoroughly recommend this book. It would make a great gift for anyone with an interest in cooking or Portugal. I'm looking forward to trying every last recipe!
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on 28 March 2013
This is a great book for any lover of Portuguese food. It's probably worth the price just for the Piri-Piri recipes :)

Having spent some years living in Portugal as a young man I wanted a book which could help me recreate dishes from, what I consider to be, amongst the great kitchens of the world.

The recipes are well explained and the personal stories are a lovely touch.

All the recipes smack of an original Portuguese kitchen as opposed to a professional chef trying to put their own spin on something which is better left alone - Extra points for this!

There are one or two negatives, though these are just personal views rather than criticisms of the recipes in the book. I think there are way too many dessert recipes. Yes, there are some Portuguese classics here but about 5 would have been enough.

Now I'm sure some will see the next point as being a little picky but I do LOVE Portugal so I have a need to defend where I can.
Churros it is said in the book 'may seem more Spanish...'

Ouch. Have to point out that it was the great Portuguese explorers who brought 'youtiao' back from China to the Iberian world and it form this which 'churros' came.

Small point? Yes.

Important? Yes, to those who love food and its origins.

Overall, this is a greta book and I really hope another will be written with even more of the greta local recipes of Portugal.
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on 24 October 2009
Each page of this book takes you on a glorious, warm, languid holiday. This is one of the most beautifully designed cookery books on the market. The recipes are inspirational. Buy it.
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on 25 August 2011
The title suggests piri-piri fish dishes but the book has other main course recipes, desserts, cakes. The recipes are written in a down-to-earth way, with no complicated cooking techniques, and are easy to follow. The ingredients can be bought also in the UK. I've tried a number of recipes with good success, just one or two failures. The book is full of stunning photos and the food is lovely. You won't regret buying this book.
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